The Fujifilm XF 33mm F/1.4 Review — BEST Prime Lens?!

A surprising focal length that quickly became my new favorite.

An image without an alt, whoops

I've delayed writing this review, but now it's necessary to set the record straight. Previously, I claimed that the Fujifilm 18mm f/1.4 lens was the finest in Fujifilm's lineup, according to my view at the time. I must admit that statement was incorrect. Although I rarely make absolute pronouncements, my extensive experience over a year has led me to a new conclusion: the Fujifilm 33mm f/1.4 stands out as the superior lens in Fujifilm's collection. Period.

An image without an alt, whoops
An image without an alt, whoops
An image without an alt, whoops

Clarity Over Character

I initially dismissed the idea of purchasing the newly announced lens since I already owned the XF 35mm f/1.4. Despite its acclaim for having a distinct "character," it was the least utilized lens in my collection. Its limited use was specific: I used it for capturing intricate details of clothing, jewelry, or other accessories on wedding or portrait assignments, leveraging the 35mm f/1.4's close-focusing capability and magnification.

Therefore, upon reviewing the tech specs of the 33mm f/1.4 and noting its marginally inferior magnification and being bulkier and heavier than my seldom-used focal length, my initial thought was dismissive— "this lens isn't necessary for me."

However, after the chance to trial the lens for a few weeks, I seized it, intending to create content to justify why I 'didn't need' it. I have to admit that I was wrong.

An image without an alt, whoops

XF 33mm F1.4 R LM WR


XF33mmF1.4 R LM WR brings together decades of precision engineering, cutting edge technology, and carefully refined manufacturing processes to usher in a new era of optical brilliance and performance ...

Add for $799.95
An image without an alt, whoops
An image without an alt, whoops
An image without an alt, whoops
An image without an alt, whoops

The sharpness. The colors. The micro-contrast. The image quality of this lens is phenomenal. Using it with previous generation cameras, such as the X-T3 and X-S10, unveils details that I previously thought were beyond the camera's capabilities.

Moreover, this lens is future-proof; its performance is elevated when used with the X-T5. The enhanced sharpness is particularly beneficial for leveraging high-resolution sensors, whether using the digital teleconverter or cropping images in post-production.

To those who are dedicated fans of the 35mm f/1.4 and may argue that the rendering of the 33mm f/1.4 is overly precise or "too clinical," I disagree. It retains an excellent three-dimensional quality in out-of-focus areas. I often use a 10% Moment Cinebloom filter to soften the 'digital' look. Remember that while you can always soften a sharp image with diffusion filters or post-processing, you cannot recover sharpness and micro-contrast in a photograph taken with a softer lens. Thus, I'd suggest not relying to the "character" argument.

An image without an alt, whoops

Perfect Focal Length for Memories

I've always loved the 28mm equivalent field of view, so I own a Fujifilm X70, a WCL for my X100VI, and a Ricoh GR III. Consequently, the 18mm f/1.4 was my preferred lens in the Fujifilm X-Mount series. My 35mm f/1.4 also saw little use for professional assignments or personal projects.

Yet, there's something about the 33mm f/1.4 that's captivating. Despite the 50mm field of view not being my usual preference, I continually reach for this lens. Surprisingly, I will use it far more than I initially anticipated.

Having favored wide-angle lenses for their capacity to engage with the environment, the subtle compression and pleasing bokeh of the 33mm, coupled with the standout effect and subject separation afforded by its micro-contrast, offer a delightful new experience in photography. Wide angles pull you into the setting with their honesty and distortion. However, the 33mm lens does something different — it takes those same scenes and, although it may sound cliché, it transforms them into memories.

It gives it a slight separation so you can hone in on the expression, the little details, the joy. And it doesn't completely obliterate the background and remove context like the 50mm f/1.0or56mm f/1.2. It's a subtle middle-ground that I have grown to appreciate as a father documenting my growing family.

From a practical standpoint, when you have young children, as I do, using an actual telephoto lens like the 56mm f/1.2 puts you at a considerable distance — more than an arm's length away. In contrast, the 33mm focal length is ideal for documenting the antics of little ones or for snapping natural portraits of children.

An image without an alt, whoops
An image without an alt, whoops
An image without an alt, whoops
An image without an alt, whoops

AutoFocus That Keeps Up With Life

A photographer's kit reflects their creative goals and technical needs. For this season of my life, it's all about documenting my kids. And toddlers running toward and away from the camera is the most strenuous AF test you can throw at a camera and lens combo.

The autofocus on this model significantly outperforms the 35mm f/1.4 and is arguably the finest within the Fujifilm range. It's also whisper-quiet. And to those photographers who think the noise of autofocus isn't an issue because they're just taking pictures, I need to point out that silent autofocus is crucial for me when recording video.

Even if I didn't make YouTube videos, I wouldn't be satisfied just documenting my life through still images alone. To truly capture the essence of the world around us, especially those who want to document their kids, photos can't fully grasp their voices, their laugh, how they talk, and how they move. The 33mm f/1.4 is perfect for tracking subjects with smooth autofocus, especially on the X-T5 and X-H2s camera bodies.

While I hate throwing around this term, it's genuinely my favorite lens for hybrid photo/video coverage (check out the full video at the top of the blog post for the video footage!).

An image without an alt, whoops
An image without an alt, whoops

The Perfect Fujifilm Lens

If I were to find one minor flaw with this lens, I would have preferred if it came with the metal hood included. Unlike the 35mm f/1.4, which comes with its metal hood, the one for this lens is an additional purchase.

Aside from this small detail, the lens is impeccable. For those with the means, I highly recommend that every Fujifilm photographer and videographer add this lens to their gear — a purchase you’re unlikely to regret. Even if you're hesitant due to the focal length or your attachment to the 35mm f/1.4, this lens delivers such impressive performance that it might win you over.

All images were shot with the Fujifilm 33mm f/1.4 paired with the Fujifilm X-S10, X-T5, and X-H2s. All photos are straight-out-of-camera JPEGs using the "Reggie's Portra"and"Reggie's HP5" film simulation recipes with minor crop, exposure, and white balance adjustments. No RAW files or heavy post-processing was done.

What We Rate

  • Weather
    • Leave it in the studio
    • Chance of Rain
    • You’re going to get wet
    • Take it in a storm

  • Build Quality
    • Cheap
    • What You’d Expect
    • Solid
    • Top of the Line

  • Image Quality
    • Is that even in focus?
    • Passable
    • Sharp
    • Tack Sharp

  • Skill Level Required
    • Just getting started
    • Upgrading from Kit Lens
    • Shoots regularly
    • Professional

  • Weight
    • Ultra Light
    • Light
    • Average
    • Heavy

  • Size
    • Pancake
    • Prime
    • A Little Zoom
    • Dad Lens

  • Aperture Range
    • Slow
    • Decent Speed
    • Fast
    • Super Fast
An image without an alt, whoops
An image without an alt, whoops
An image without an alt, whoops
An image without an alt, whoops
An image without an alt, whoops
An image without an alt, whoops
An image without an alt, whoops

💌 There's More!

Enjoyed this read? Subscribe now and receive all the latest and greatest articles straight to your inbox. All original. Community first. 100% ad-free.